‘Three… two… one… we have lift off!!’
We all think of the same iconic image as we hear those seven words. Except right now we’re not in the cockpit of a shuttle blasting off into space from the Kennedy Space Center. We’re in our living room as we watch our child sit in a cardboard spaceship, enthusiastically pressing buttons on a box flap that’s been converted into a control panel.
It’s an image that countless parents will be familiar with, and one that efficiently illustrates why cardboard boxes are so popular with children. While all grown-ups see are the practical functions of a square container, kids see instead a blank canvas, something that sparks their imagination and with endless creative potential.
In that respect, cardboard boxes hold the same creative appeal of Lego bricks – they may come packaged as one thing but can be repurposed and rebuilt into something else entirely. The only thing restricting the user is their imagination.
We never get tired of hearing from parents about the ways cardboard has been put to creative use by their children. Aside from the afore mentioned spaceship, we’ve seen cardboard boxes folded into market stalls, or cut up to recreate the New York skyline and The Statue of Liberty. In one instance, we even saw multiple cardboard boxes impressively crafted into the shape of a Viking ship, complete with a dragon head at the prow. Or, in one amusing Tik Tok clip, we saw a mother repurpose a pair of cardboard boxes as a holding cell for her little ‘gremlins’!
There’s another reason to encourage children to play with cardboard, aside from stimulating the creative part of the brain – it’s a great opportunity to highlight the importance of recycling.
When it comes to packaging materials, cardboard already has one of the highest recycling rates (approximately 80% in the UK), but there’s always more that can be done, which is why making the most of discarded boxes for fun and games is a good place to start, before eventually taking them to the local Council’s recycling centre.
But ultimately, in a time when kids are increasingly drawn to tablets and smartphones, hand crafting with cardboard provides them with a tactile experience and an opportunity to showcase works of art that feel real and tangible.
If your children love to play with cardboard and have recently used it to create something worth sharing, we’d love to hear from you! You can share pictures of their artwork with us directly via Facebook or Instagram!